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Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!




The Game

The year is 2008, a fresh faced Barack Obama is set to win the US presidency, Nat20 is at university and Capcom is sitting on a dying franchise.

Megaman had seen better days, the original series hadnít seen play since the mixed reception received by Megaman 8 in 1996 and the X series had been killed dead by the disaster known as Megaman X6.

Whilst Capcom had enjoyed some success with Megaman Zero whose original entry released in 2002, that line had come to end by 2005.

Continuing on this path, Capcom released Megaman ZX in 2006 and ZX Advent in 2007. Whilst both games were competently made platforming games, they lacked the brand recognition of the earlier games in the series.

But the world of 2008 was an exciting one. The success of Xbox Live Arcade over the past few years had demonstrated the viability of digital distribution. Independent game developers had been finding great success, able to develop smaller games at a fraction of the cost whilst still gaining decent exposure through schemes such as the Xbox Live Arcade Hits. Nintendo had been seeing similar success with its virtual console, monetising its incredible back catalogue for a new generation of gamers sucked in by the smash hit that was the Nintendo Wii.

In the past decade or so, Keiji Inafune, the man behind the Megaman franchise at Capcom had been interested in creating a new Megaman game, outwardly stating all the way back in 2004 that heíd like to make a game as a throwback to the old school style of the early 90s. The idea initially had no traction, but as digital distribution became more viable and development costs fell, the pipe dream became more and more realistic.

Whilst there were whispers of a new Megaman project, it was in July 2008 that Capcom shocked the world. A brand new original series Megaman game was to be released, with glorious 8 bit graphics and the removal of gimmicks that had been tacked on to the series over time. The focus was simple, to build a game that was better than Megaman 2 and when Megaman 9 finally released in September of the same year, reception was mixed, with some thinking that Capcom had finally surpassed Megaman 2 and others thinking 9 was one of the worst games in the series.

Complete sales figures were never made available but Inafune claimed after its release that Megaman 9 had far exceeded Capcomís expectations. The announcement of a sequel, Megaman 10, shortly after appeared to corroborate that statement.

Megaman 10, released in 2010, copied the aesthetic and style of Megaman 9. Ultimately however, it failed to have the same impact as its predecessor, with most outlets comparing it unfavourably with 9. The consensus was that whilst Megaman 10 was a competent platformer it did little to innovate on 9 or perform better in any field.
And for 7 years that was where the story ended. Megaman 10 was fine, but not good enough to warrant a sequel; the retro aesthetic would go on to be captured by a number of independent developers, with the likes of Super Meat Boy and Shovel Knight gaining acclaim as the heralds of a new era in platforming. With the departure of Inafune from Capcom and the subsequent failure of his own release, Mighty No. 9, it truly seemed as if Megaman was dead and buried.

That is until December of 2017, Capcom announced the release of a new game in the main franchise, Megaman 11, which is set to continue from where Megaman 8 left off, innovating in terms of visual design and departing from the retro aesthetic of the previous games.

So now seems like a good time to examine Megaman 9 and 10. Did 9 deserve to be the smash hit that it became? Was 10 a game that was unfairly compared to its predecessor? And will 11 live up to the standard set by one of the high water marks of the series?

Letís find out.

The LP

I alongside my erstwhile companion Yorkshire Tea will be playing through Megaman 9 and Megaman 10 in a video LP format.

Whilst both Tea and I have a fair bit of experience with Megaman 9, which Iíve beaten a few times both of us have a little bit of a blank spot for Megaman 10 which we never played. Our goal therefore is to play through 9 and get our groove back before going into 10 blind. This hopefully will be a good way to examine the design of both games and see if they stand up to the standards of today.

Videos should release on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday cycle and weíll aim to cover 3 stages or so each week, although this might vary based on how much trouble we have with each stage. Weíll be playing on a level by level, life by life format, so you can both mock me for thinking I know what Iím doing and congratulate Tea for doing far better than he expects to.

One thing to note is that neither of us are absolute experts at platforming, you can expect hilarious deaths, game overs and everything in between, but thatís hopefully going to be part of the fun. If youíre expecting a frame perfect speedrun of the game then you probably want to look elsewhere!

Most importantly however, we will have voting. At the end of each week we will ask you the amazing audience to pick out the next three bosses you want to see, with Megaman 9 weíve been a little cheaty and chosen to go to Galaxy Man and Jewel Man first to ease ourselves in, but from that point on itíll be up to you to send us to our next level. Want to see us do all the bosses in a reverse order so weíve never got an effective weapon? Go nuts! Want to see us run into the hardest stage last for a satisfying climax? The choice is yours!

Each Friday Iíll list out the remaining bosses. Pick out whichever three you want to see in this order:

1.
2.
3.

Bosses with a ranking of 1 will get three points, a ranking of 2 will get two points and a ranking of 3 will get one point. When voting closes on Sunday afternoon, weíll figure out the three highest ranking bosses and then do them in scoring order.

Bonus Episodes

If it ever happens that Tea and I canít do a recording session, Iíll either be doing a solo run through of Megaman 2 and 3 here or looking at DLC that we haven't had a chance to get to yet. If I do Iíll give notice ahead of time so people can run a quick vote on Boss order for each game. This will be a fair bit less formal than the LP itself, but hopefully it should be a laugh anyway. Iíve played through 2 a few times but I have a genuine blind spot for Megaman 3 which will be amusing to behold should I get there.

And with that, sit back, relax and enjoy the LP.

Let's Play Mega Man 9 - Episode List
Episode 1: Thinking Too Much - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea fight a Galaxy
Episode 2: Tea's First Time - Wherein Tea proves to be a lot better than he anticipated
Episode 3: Everything Went to Plan - Wherein Nat20 is reminded of his hubris.
Episode 4: Jewel Satellite - Wherein Nat20 abuses the hell out of a weapon and is berated for it.
Episode 5: I can't beelieve it- Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea make terrible puns and enjoy spikes
Episode 6 - Almost a Cigar - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea get butt bombed.
Episode 7 - Ice Levels are the Coolest - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea deal with pits and ice.
Episode 8 - Damage Boost - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea try to be speedrunners.
Episode 9 - Cut in Post Production - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea have to deal with magama pillars.
Episode 10 - Bees vs. Sub - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea are pleasantly surprised.
Episode 11 - The Same Thing Over and Over - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea fight giant blobs.
Episode 12 - We Had a Blast - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea take on bouncing balls.
Episode 13 - Our Favourite Weapon - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea attack time.

Bonus Episodes
Bonus Episode 1: Superhero Mode - Wherein Nat20 Tries to deal with Superhero mode.
Bonus Episode 2 - More Superhero mode! - Wherein Nat20 gets on a roll.
Bonus Episode 3 - Even more Superhero mode! - Wherein Nat20 struggles with problems from the original Megaman 9.

Let's Play Mega Man 10 - Episode List
Episode 1 - Nintendo Should Sue - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea face off against a deadly sheep.
Episode 2 - That's Not What I Want - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea genuinely struggle.
Episode 3 - Ambush Catfish - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea take on the deadliest boss in the game.
Episode 4 - Touchdown! - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea are underwhelmed!
Episode 5 - A Complete Nightmare - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea experience a difficulty spike.
Episode 6 - Pretty Cool - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea make terrible puns.
Episode 7 - Nitroglycerin is not in cars! - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea debate the internal combustion engine.
Episode 8 - Neon Tiger - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea remember all the Mega Man bosses they forgot.
Episode 9 - Diagnosis: Swords - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea slowly lose their sanity.
Episode 10 - We Probably Don't Deserve to Win - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea put everything they have into winning.
Episode 11 - Please Be The End - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea pray for an ending.
Episode 12 - (Epilogue) Back Where we Started - Wherein Nat20 and Yorkshire Tea look back in wonder.

Spiked Death Count: 30

Natural 20 fucked around with this message at May 3, 2018 around 20:23

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Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 1: Thinking Too Much

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



I think the only time Dr. Wily actually reprogrammed Dr. Light's robots was in the original Mega Man. It isn't the only time Dr. Wily has stolen and reprogrammed robots; it's funny you mention Mega Man 4 because that one had him threatening Dr. Cossack in order to get his world domination on, Mega Man 6 had him stealing and reprogramming the winners of a Battle Bots-style tournament, and in Mega Man V for the Game Boy all the Robot Masters were of alien origin IIRC. MM1 was the only time so far that he's reprogrammed Dr. Light's robots, though.

I find it amazing that anyone with the smallest shred of brainpower actually believed Dr. Wily's claim here. The man has already attempted to conquer the world at least eight times, and each time was stopped by Mega Man, who is one of Dr. Light's robots. It's like the Joker suddenly going on TV and claiming Superman is trying to conquer the world. The simple fact that Dr. Light went peacefully when a bunch of cops showed up knocking on his door should have been a tip-off by itself.

"Tiny robot" or "Phonebot" is called Eddie, and he was introduced in MM4. He might be a creation of Dr. Cossack, but I can't remember off the top of my head. The big green guy is Auto and was introduced in Mega Man 7.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


See I should remember the stuff from 2, 3 and 4 because Tea very kindly bought me a hardback of the Megaman archie comics that covered the games.

But post 4 is basically a void to me, I think I've played 5 and 6 at some point, but 7 in particular managed to put me off the series a fair bit. It was always a little weird coming back to 9 and finding all these characters I had no idea even existed show up!

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 2: Tea's First Time


Voting is up!

Please vote for your preferred bosses of any of the below:



Present your top three in order:

E.g.

1. Concrete Man
2. Hornet Man
3. Splash Woman

Voting is open until the evening of Sunday the 25th of February!

Technowolf
Nov 4, 2009



1. Hornet Man
2. Concrete Man
3. Magma Man

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



  1. Plug Man
  2. Splash Woman
  3. Concrete Man

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Commander Keene posted:

  1. Plug Man
  2. Splash Woman
  3. Concrete Man

You're being very kind.

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



I don't know much about MM9, personally. I don't own it, haven't beaten it, and I've only played Galaxy Man's and Splash Woman's stages. You mentioned Plug Man being weak against Jewel Shield (or at least it being useful in his stage) in the video and part of the fun of a MM LP is seeing the bosses and stages chumped by people better at the game than I am, I've beaten Splash Woman so it would be good to get her out of the way, and I threw in the obligatory Concrete Man vote just because.

MonkeyBench
Apr 3, 2012


Commander Keene posted:

  1. Plug Man
  2. Splash Woman
  3. Concrete Man

I second this.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009

Torches, to god-damned hell with torches! We have no torches. In fact, we don't need torches. I don't have to show you any stinking torches, you god-damned cabron and chinga tu madre!



On a whim here because most of what I remember of MM9 is from the mediocre fangame Megaman 2.5D:

1. Tornado Man
2. Magma Man
3. Splash Woman

Does MM9 not have the ability to slide or do charged shots? Or are you just neglecting to do so? It's hard to tell what stems from Capcom's extreme fear of change with the series (which often gets cargo-culted with fangames - look up Mega Man 42 if you want some very bewildered laughter in this direction), and what stems from oddball player habits.

Alxprit
Feb 7, 2015

A lady after my own Soul-Heart.

No cool Mega-moves in MM9, it went retro in more ways than the graphics.

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



NGDBSS posted:

Does MM9 not have the ability to slide or do charged shots? Or are you just neglecting to do so? It's hard to tell what stems from Capcom's extreme fear of change with the series (which often gets cargo-culted with fangames - look up Mega Man 42 if you want some very bewildered laughter in this direction), and what stems from oddball player habits.
IIRC, MM9 is full-on MM2, just with Rush instead of the Items. No slide, no charged shot.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado

1) Tornado Fan
2) Hornet Man
3) Plug Man

Seeric
Aug 18, 2011


1. Splash Woman
2. Hornet Man
3. Tornado Man

As tempting as it is to put Tornado Man into the #1 position, MM9 has my favorite overall set of robot master weapons in the series, so I decided to vote based on my weapon preferences instead of schadenfreude this time around.

Shei-kun
Dec 2, 2011

Screw you, physics!


1) Plug Man
2) Splash Woman
3) Magma Man


That seems to be in order of likely weaknesses, and it's always satisfying to see a boss chumped by their weakness.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009

Torches, to god-damned hell with torches! We have no torches. In fact, we don't need torches. I don't have to show you any stinking torches, you god-damned cabron and chinga tu madre!



Commander Keene posted:

IIRC, MM9 is full-on MM2, just with Rush instead of the Items. No slide, no charged shot.
Oof, that's certainly some dumb conservatism. MM4 itself didn't adapt well to the charge shot, but later games did so, and MM3 did very well by introducing the dash. (Even if it's a bit clunky to use with the NES-style controls, as opposed to Mega Man X/Zero/ZX mapping it to a dedicated button and consequently pushing the envelope on its use.) And apparently MM10 continues a similar trend; while you can get access to a dash and/or a charge shot the game goes out of its way to sneer at you for doing so. In that regard it's worse than Mega Man Zero 1 and 2 for being two-faced about interfacing with the game's own mechanics.

NGDBSS fucked around with this message at Feb 24, 2018 around 07:23

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



What I might have done in that situation would be to make the charge shot and slide purchasable upgrades in the game's item shop. That way, the people who want them can have them, and those who don't don't need to deal with it. They don't seem to have done that much with the item shop; the "best" item in there is the energy balancer. Having one or two other permanent upgrades in the store might have made it more interesting.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Commander Keene posted:

What I might have done in that situation would be to make the charge shot and slide purchasable upgrades in the game's item shop. That way, the people who want them can have them, and those who don't don't need to deal with it. They don't seem to have done that much with the item shop; the "best" item in there is the energy balancer. Having one or two other permanent upgrades in the store might have made it more interesting.

So in MM9 the charge shot and slide are both available on Protoman who is part of the DLC. To compensate, he takes double damage. It makes the game quite a bit harder in all honesty.

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



Natural 20 posted:

So in MM9 the charge shot and slide are both available on Protoman who is part of the DLC. To compensate, he takes double damage. It makes the game quite a bit harder in all honesty.
Better than Mega Man Powered Up, where he always fired full-power charge shots and had a shield that would protect him from frontal damage (1 hit, then you had to run and pick it up from wherever it flew off to, IIRC). He was so broken that the fact that he couldn't use boss weapons and took double damage still didn't balance him.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


About a day left on voting.

TheFattestPat
Dec 28, 2012

Santa Cat Says: Good deeds are the things to always do, just make sure someone is watching you


I'm a complete Megaman fanatic, and I LOVE this game! It rivals 2 as my favorite. I'm so happy they took out the charge shot, that way you need to focus on using the robot master weapons to deal with everything. As for your stage order:

1. Splash Woman
2. Concrete Man
3. Hornet Man


You want Splash Woman's weapons, so go kill her first. If you do end up going against Plug or Magma, be ready those two have very unforgiving stages and fights.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Voting closes.

Plug Man - 10 Points
Splash Woman - 10 Points
Concrete Man - 6 Points
Hornet Man - 6 Points
Tornado Man - 6 Points
Magma Man - 4 Points

Welp I need a way of dealing with ties.

First person to reply with their preference on Plug Man vs SplashWoman and their favourite of Concrete Man, Hornet Man and Tornado Man gets to tiebreak.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado

Splashwomen

Hornet Man

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Clapping Larry

Robot Master weaknesses can be pretty drat swingy but wow, that one was dire.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 3: Everything Went to Plan


Spiked Death Count: 6

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



You could shoot on ladders in MM1. The most interesting ladder interaction in the actual NES Mega Man games was that if you changed weapons (or even entered the pause menu at all) while on one, the teleport animation would play, causing you to fall off the ladder. You learned quickly to hold Up while unpausing on ladders.

Black Hole Bomb is a pretty ridiculous weapon. Like Nat20 said, it kills everything that doesn't have a lifebar. Even bullets. Forget Jewel Satellite or whatever, BHB is the best shield weapon in a MM game.

Can you change weapons using the trigger/bumper buttons in this game, like you could in MM7/MMX?

jivjov
Sep 13, 2007

How does it taste?

Dinosaur Gum

Commander Keene posted:

Can you change weapons using the trigger/bumper buttons in this game, like you could in MM7/MMX?

You couldn't in the OG console releases, not sure if Legacy Collection 2 added it in. It was kinda a big deal that MM10 put the quickswap back in.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Commander Keene posted:

You could shoot on ladders in MM1. The most interesting ladder interaction in the actual NES Mega Man games was that if you changed weapons (or even entered the pause menu at all) while on one, the teleport animation would play, causing you to fall off the ladder. You learned quickly to hold Up while unpausing on ladders.

Black Hole Bomb is a pretty ridiculous weapon. Like Nat20 said, it kills everything that doesn't have a lifebar. Even bullets. Forget Jewel Satellite or whatever, BHB is the best shield weapon in a MM game.

Can you change weapons using the trigger/bumper buttons in this game, like you could in MM7/MMX?

No, I actually tried to do it but neglected to mention so during the recording.

I feel like the Satellite is the more powerful weapon of the two, but we'll get to that later on.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!



Episode 4: Jewel Satellite


Spiked Death Count: 6

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.


Is the video slideshowing out of sync with audio for anyone else, or is my computer making GBS threads itself?

Technowolf
Nov 4, 2009



Bruceski posted:

Is the video slideshowing out of sync with audio for anyone else, or is my computer making GBS threads itself?

Turning down the quality fixed that for me.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


Bruceski posted:

Is the video slideshowing out of sync with audio for anyone else, or is my computer making GBS threads itself?

Had a bit of an issue with the way it was loading myself. But seems to have fixed itself on my end.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009

Torches, to god-damned hell with torches! We have no torches. In fact, we don't need torches. I don't have to show you any stinking torches, you god-damned cabron and chinga tu madre!



As to your concerns about Jewel Satellite being cheap against the stage or against Plug Man himself...nah, not really. This is the sort of thing I was referring to with "oddball player habits", that this or that technique is somehow cheating. Use anything that you have to; limiting yourself should be something that you want to do.

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



NGDBSS posted:

As to your concerns about Jewel Satellite being cheap against the stage or against Plug Man himself...nah, not really. This is the sort of thing I was referring to with "oddball player habits", that this or that technique is somehow cheating. Use anything that you have to; limiting yourself should be something that you want to do.
Exactly. Mega Man games specifically give you the Robot Master weapons so that you'll use them. It's kind of funny to me how Tea arbitrarily decides the Jewel Satellite is "cheating", but has no problems with the use of the Black Hole Bomb or the Laser Trident. Buster Only runs are all well and good, but half of the fun of a MM game to me is getting all these new weapons and being able to use them.

And at least in Plug Man's case, the Jewel Satellite is a self-limiting mechanic; if you use too much of it during the stage, you won't have enough of it left to beat the boss with, as we saw in the video.

Natural 20
Sep 17, 2007

So long, Ex-Ma Fergie!


I find the difference in attitude really interesting.

Tea knows me very much as a person who will try to challenge themselves when playing a game. Broadly speaking I play for the challenge of something and I find games that don't challenge me in that way to be boring.

So he's right in that there's an apparent inconsistency between the way that I behave and using Jewel Satellite to waltz through Plug Man's stage.

But I signed up to doing Megaman 9 with weapons. Part of the fun of a challenge is using your brain to overcome that challenge. As long as it doesn't render the entire game pointless, in my mind it's a reward for being smart as opposed to anything else.

Rappaport
Oct 2, 2013


The game design in the old Megaman games specifically guided you towards using your special weapons during non-Robot-Master-scenes; the "doctor Wily" levels (whatever they were called in each iteration) required you to use them to progress. Therefore it makes sense that as the player you'd figure the Robot Master guns as tools as you play along the levels before Wily.

Seeric
Aug 18, 2011


I think it's great to see Jewel Satellite and the other weapons getting used. A lot of the other Mega Man games suffer from either having bad weapons or simply from not having stages which let you take full advantage of the tools you are given. 9 is fun in large part because of just how good so many of its weapons are and it would be a shame to not see them utilized, especially since stages like Plug Man's so often seem to be built with the weapons in mind.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

One of the reasons why the Mega Buster (a.k.a. charged shot) was a mistake is because it makes the weapons comparatively less useful. Sure, weapons are often more spammable than the charged shot, but they cost energy and rarely do more damage than the buster does. It's no surprise that the NES games with the most fun weapons were the first three.

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magikid
Nov 4, 2006
Wielder of the Soup Spoon

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

One of the reasons why the Mega Buster (a.k.a. charged shot) was a mistake is because it makes the weapons comparatively less useful. Sure, weapons are often more spammable than the charged shot, but they cost energy and rarely do more damage than the buster does. It's no surprise that the NES games with the most fun weapons were the first three.

I guess you can think of the missing slide in the same sort of way, like if everything is avoidable without it then you don't need it anyway. It still feels lacking to not have it though, while leaving out the Mega Buster was an improvement.

(The real reason they're both gone is because Japan loving loves Rockman 2.)

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